Fishery interests stopped oil drilling

Lofoten waters

In a surprise move, the Norwegian government yesterday halted plans for the collection of seismic data in the Lofoten waters in northern Norway. Sensitive relations with the fish industry in the region is the reason, the minister of oil and energy admits


Despite strong opposition from the fish industry and environmental organisations, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate planned to start the seismic studies on May 15. Then the government turned around. Minister of Oil and Energy, Åslaug Haga says that the government has decided to give itself more time in the issue. At the same time, she maintains that the parliament has decided that seismic studies should be conducted in the area, and that the plans therefore sooner or later must be executed. The minister says the government will take a decision on the issue in the course of the week, newspaper Nordlys reports with reference to NTB. At the same time, the Ministry of Environment has now requested the Pollution Control Authority (SFT) to consider whether the seismic studies are in line with national environmental legislation. In the background lures oil major StatoilHydro, which is keen on a quick opening of the resource-rich Lofoten waters. Currently, the area is protected by a government-approved management plan. However, the plan is to be revised by 2010, and the oilmen will then be ready for drilling